The Subaru WRX Intake Guide Upgrade. The Subaru WRX is a street racing legend. Turbocharged. Four-cylinder Boxer. All-wheel-drive. It’s difficult to dispute that they’re the whole thing. They’re also nearly infinitely customizable. A performance intake is one of the cheapest, simplest, and most satisfying improvements you can make to your WRX.
While there is a minor increase in power, the sound is what truly sells it. When it comes to buttoning up a WRX, sound is a big part of the battle. One element of the equation is a high-quality blow-off valve, and the other is an enhanced cold air intake.
By lowering the temperature of the air entering the turbo, an improved WRX cold air intake offers a few additional ponies. As a result, the temperature of the air entering the combustion chamber is reduced. Colder air is denser and more oxygen-rich, resulting in more efficient combustion.
This improved Subaru WRX intake guide is designed for the 2008-2015 VA generation of Subaru WRXs. Having stated that, the same information applies to older WRX versions as well.
Subaru WRX Performance Intake Upgrade
In reality, very few VA WRX owners update their intake just for performance reasons. If you’re looking for enormous horsepower and torque boosts, you’ll be disappointed. Unless you’re driving a very insane 400+ whp WRX, a stock intake should suffice in terms of performance.
Nonetheless, greater horsepower ranges provide certain performance advantages. An improved intake will improve performance substantially more than on a standard WRX in the case of a well tuned WRX pushing astronomically high boost pressure and an aggressive fuel system. This is due to the fact that raising boost and power necessitates a significant increase in airflow, which can quickly overwhelm the OEM intake system. Cold air intakes for the 2.0L FA20F engine can meet the requirements. A few advantages of a Subaru WRX cold air intake are as follows:
- Gain of 0-15 Horsepower
- Gains in torque are comparable.
- Maintenance is simplified.
- faster turbo spool
- enhanced induction noises
The easier maintenance and enhanced induction sounds will be the most evident of the changes outlined above. While a real cold air intake system can provide significant performance, a regular open-box enhanced WRX performance intake will only add between 0 and 15 horsepower. It’s a subtle distinction that you’re unlikely to notice.
However, you will notice the sound. The majority of aftermarket WRX intakes utilize a ‘open air’ intake style that eliminates the standard airbox. This allows the intake to project more clearly, adding an addictive whoosh to the soundtrack of your WRX. Induction sounds are most audible during acceleration.
Because the VA WRX’s FA20F engine has a twin-scroll turbo, turbo lag isn’t as prevalent as it was in earlier generations. As a result, the potential benefit of faster turbo spool times is nearly lost on the VA WRX.
Types of WRX Intakes Upgraded
The majority of aftermarket intakes for the VA WRX are not truly cold air intakes. Most aftermarket or performance intakes recycle engine bay air yet benefit marginally from an open-air design. In actuality, the performance difference between a stock intake and a performance intake is almost non-existent.
However, there are performance WRX cold air intakes available that reroute the OEM intake piping to a lower place outside the engine bay. This enables the intake to be fed truly cool air, which is then passed on to the turbocharger. A demonstrable change in performance is present in this scenario. Some high-end cold air intakes are capable of producing 30-40 horsepower improvements.
Best Subaru WRX Performance Intakes
We’ll go through some of our favorite cold air intake choices for the Subaru WRX in this section. But first, a few notes before we get started. This is far from an exhaustive list. There are numerous intake choices for the WRX. We’re simply highlighting a few that we believe provide an excellent value for money, quality, and performance.
Furthermore, the recommendations in this tutorial are tailored to the VA 2008-2015 model Subaru WRX. Having said that, there are several choices available for previous Gen 3 and Gen 2 WRXs, many of which are manufactured by the same company.
As a general guideline, after installing an aftermarket intake on your WRX, you should always have a tune. The minor boost in power from an improved WRX intake is nearly completely negated without a tune. To compensate for the additional air from the intake, the FA20F must be told to change the air/fuel ratio. Otherwise, the stock map will use the factory blend, which will result in no power boost.
1) Subaru Cobb Tuning Big SF Intake
Cobb tuning is likely to be familiar to anyone who has modified their Subaru in the past. They are well-known for their high-quality access ports and tuning devices, in addition to bolt-on performance items. They’re a household name in Subaru performance components, with thousands of fans and customers on their side.
Cobb Tuning’s Big SF intake for VA WRXs is a closed air performance intake. In contrast to open-air systems, closed air intakes are encased in a factory-style airbox. The Cobb SF intake, while still a closed air system, is less restrictive than the factory airbox.
The Cobb Tuning WRX Intake system includes all of the essential components for a quick installation on your WRX. It’s just a simple unbolt/rebolt switch that bolts up to the factory install positions. The intake tube and airbox are made of high-quality aluminum, and a reusable green dual cone intake filter is included. It’s difficult to beat in terms of quality.
Despite the fact that it is a closed air system, which normally limits the amount of induction noise that reaches the driver, the Cobb SF is reputed to make a really good noise. It retains the same form and shape as the factory airbox, though, and does not free up much space in the engine bay.
Gains in horsepower and torque: 0-15 hp/lb-ft, or 15-30 for WRXs running greater boost.
2) Grimmspeed Stealthbox WRX Subaru Intake
In a similar vein to the manufacturer mentioned above, Grimmspeed is a well-known Subaru performance part maker. Grimmspeed has been one of the most famous manufacturers in the Subaru aftermarket arena since its inception in 2016, and for good reason. Their entire line of products is of high quality.
Grimmspeed took a new approach to the Subaru WRX enhanced intake formula with the Grimmspeed Stealthbox. The kit offers all of the benefits seen in many other performance WRX intakes while remaining subtle and visually pleasing. It also has some distinctive traits that many fans find appealing.
The Stealthbox got its name from Grimspeed’s low-profile heat shield design, which covers the intake. The heat shield makes use of the OEM hood scoop to direct air from the engine bay into the increased intake. This also protects the MAF sensor from the engine’s heat. The intake is also covered in heat shielding to keep it cool.
Because the Grimmspeed intake is a real cold air intake system, it produces somewhat more horsepower than the other selections on our list. Because of the cooler entrance air temperature, a VA WRX with an intake tune can produce an additional 21whp and 32wtq. It doesn’t get any better than that with a WRX intake improvement.
Gains in Horsepower / Torque: 0-15 hp/lb-ft
3) Subaru Cold Air Intake 21-732C WRX
It appears to be a recurring theme that the majority of Subaru aftermarket performance part makers are worth their salt. AEM most emphatically is. Another high-performance Subaru aftermarket business with a long history, AEM is an excellent choice for any Subaru modification.
Their WRX Cold Air Intake is no different. Unlike the previous two alternatives, the AEM Cold Air Intake is an open-air system. To compensate for the exposed filter, AEM built a heat shield to keep warm engine air out. The downward-angled intake tube draws cool air from the car’s bottom. This also permits the entering air to keep an unconstrained velocity.
Once again, the 21-732C intake comes with everything you need to install it. The improved Subaru WRX intake mounts directly to factory equipment. The AEM WRX intake is fairly similar to the Cobb in terms of performance. Because the AEM is an open-air solution, it has a noisier intake than the Cobb.
Gains in horsepower and torque: 0-15 hp/lb-ft, or 15-30 for WRXs running greater boost.
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Summary of Subaru VA WRX Cold Air Intake
For good reason, performance intake systems are among the most popular aftermarket additions. They provide an excellent blend of performance, sound, and pricing. This is especially true for the 2.0L FA20F engine, which relies heavily on airflow. On tuned and altered VA WRXs, power gains can be as high as 10-15whp peak.
Choosing between enhanced WRX intakes is frequently a matter of assessing your priorities. If you want more power, a real cold air solution, such as the Grimmspeed Stealthbox, is your best bet. If you want to hear spectacular induction noises, an open-air intake, such as the AEM WRX intake, is the way to go.